TEOPS - Technology for Experimental and Observational Physics in Scotland
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Various activities are currently taking place and have now been completed across TEOPS, generally involving links with external bodies both within academia and with industry.

ATLAS upgrade

This work involves research towards improved structures for the SLHC Silicon tracker, based on studying different support materials (carbon fibre, SiC, CSiC and ceramics). Thermal studies will examine the heat flow from the modules to the cooling fluid with the aim of optimizing the sensor temperature. The work involves:
Conceptual model of module (3D CAD model)
Conceptual model of module (3D CAD model)

One material we are looking at is CSiC (carbon/silicon carbide). This material has been developed for lightweight mirror and space applications; with a good combination of mechanical and thermal properties, it is currently of interest for telescope and spacecraft engineering.

Experimental layout for thermal conductivity measurements
Experimental layout for thermal conductivity measurements

We are currently measuring the thermal conductivity of various materials at temperatures between -20°C and room temperature, using a facility which has been set up for this purpose.

Cryogenic facility

A cryogenic material property test bed, funded by TEOPS, has been set up at the UK ATC in Edinburgh. It is based around a mechanically cooled cryostat, and liquid cryogens (nitrogen and helium) are therefore not required. Properties of the system: We are currently interesting in measuring: Other measurements that would be possible in this system include: The system is available both to make measurements to support current programmes across TEOPS, and also to investigate materials and techniques that are likely to be of use in future instruments. Other cryostats at the UK ATC are also available as part of this programme. Work we are currently carrying out includes measurements of the thermal conductivity of superconducting niobium titanium wire for an upgrade to the SCUBA-2 instrument on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawai'i, and thermal cycling tests on materials for the MIRI instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope to be launched in 2013.
Further information on this facility can be found here.

Optical coatings

The IGR in Glasgow is carrying out a research programme on the dissipation of optical coatings at temperatures between 6 K and room temperature. The mechanical dissipation of such coatings is expected to be an important source of thermal noise in the next generation of gravitational wave detectors, but the processes responsible are currently not well understood.

The experiments consist of measuring the mechanical loss of various coating layers applied to silicon cantilevers, and are carried out using several liquid helium cryostats. The thermal design and operation of the systems has benefited from the in-depth expertise in cryogenic systems available at the UK ATC. In addition, analysis programmes developed for characterising large numbers of detectors in astronomical instruments are being modified to improve the analysis of the results of these experiments.

LISA and LISA Pathfinder

The flight model optical bench for LISA Pathfinder is currently under construction in Glasgow. This is the result of an extensive design and planning campaign, and has resulted in the IGR gaining space-flight hardware heritage.

Work is also ongoing on the spaceborne gravitational wave detector, LISA, and these activities will be increased when the LISA Pathfinder optical benches are delivered.

CAD rendering of the LISA Pathfinder optical bench being constructed in Glasgow
CAD rendering of the LISA Pathfinder optical bench being constructed in Glasgow

European ELT

TEOPS is currently working on an STFC grant funded project for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The work, led by the UK ATC and including both Glasgow and Paisley universities aims to demonstrate that a combination of already available technologies, with some development, can address key problems currently facing large adaptive mirror technologies. Our goal is to show that our mirror portion will be scalable to, and representative of the technology required to build a large adaptive mirror for the European ELT. Glasgow University will make use of their extensive experience and particular knowledge of the hydroxide bonding process developed in the field of gravitational wave detection to enable the realisation of the proof of concept mirror. The recent extension of facilities at the University made possible by involvement in SUPA will enable us to verify the suitability of the mechanical construction of the proof of concept mirror, ensuring that it is fit for purpose.

Other activities

TEOPS has carried out design and prototyping work for seismic and suspension isolation systems for both the European GEO and American Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detectors. The work was contracted to TEOPS by the two projects, and carried out by Calum Torrie.

TEOPS has also received a contract for Adam Woodcraft to provide consultancy for the thermal design for the SAFARI instrument on the SPICA space telescope, which is a European Space Agency mission under consideration for a possible launch in 2017.

Wire bonding for the detectors on the UK ATC led SCUBA-2 instrument on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope was carried out using equipment in the experimental particle physics group in Glasgow.

Page created: Adam Woodcraft
Last edited 2009-2-18     Site map
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